RANGERS brushed aside Hamilton to reach the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup after a domineering second-half display.
Martyn Waghorn had given the Gers the lead from the spot on 32 minutes but it was the second period which saw Graeme Murty’s side stamp their authority on the game.
Joe Garner was a half-time substitute and missed 12 minutes of the second-half getting a head injury stitched but still managed a first Rangers hat-trick. He scored with his first touch before adding his second and third in the final two minutes of the game.
In between Garner’s first and second Jon Toral opened his account for the season before Clint Hill nodded home with a bullet of a header eight minutes from time.
The result means the Light Blues secure themselves a spot at Hampden in April and a place in tomorrow’s draw.
The game sprung alive for the Gers in the ninth minute when Emerson Hyndman nearly started this one as he had finished his last – with a goal. Barrie McKay tore Hamilton apart down the left and then darted on the angle to send a pacey ball across the box. Waghorn had the vision to see Hyndman was arriving fast from the right channel and left it. That allowed the American to rifle a shot goalwards, which unfortunately was straight at Remi Matthews. The Gers had started with a spring in their step after Wednesday’s win.
Hamilton didn’t manage to create a lot inside the opening 20 minutes but may have had some grievances when Wes Foderingham appeared to handle the ball outside his area. A Clint Hill body check stopped Rakish Bingham profiting from a good ball into the near post on 15 minutes.
Waghorn found himself in on goal on 24 minutes but couldn’t overcome both keeper and defender and his shot was well blocked by the Accies backline. Hyndman had turned provided for that one as he threaded the ball through a tangle of legs to the striker.
Moments before Rangers took the lead Kenny Miller had the best chance of the half so far. Waghorn combined in a neat one two with Jason Holt as the Light Blues poured forward on mass. The midfielder cleverly found Miller arriving on the edge of the box with a curling ball and the striker let loose on the volley, his superb effort cannoned off the cross bar.
A minute later Murty’s side had the lead from the spot. John Beaton pointed for a penalty after Jon Toral was brought down from behind under a Grant Gillespie challenge but it was the tug on the midfielder’s shirt as he went down which made the official’s mind up. The Gers top scorer stepped up and cooly slotted the ball to the right of Matthews to give him his 14th of the season.
Waghorn could have had a second with three minutes to the turnaround when he combined well with McKay. The striker tapped the ball out to the Scotland international and the winger got to the by-line before pulling the ball back. Waghorn lay in wait on the edge of the box and attempted to curl his shot into the top corner but it was just inches too high to make another mark on the scoresheet.
Murty made a change at half-time with Joe Garner coming on to replace Kenny Miller and the impact was immediate. McKay whipped a corner in from the left, Kiernan leapt highest to nod into the path of Garner and, outstretched, the striker tapped the ball over the line with his first touch. It was the 28-year-old’s first goal at Ibrox since October.
There was then a heavy delay in the game after Garner and Blair Adams clashed heads after the forward attacked a cross from the left inside the penalty area. Adams was forced off and the Gers goalscorer had to receive stitches which left Rangers down to 10 men for 12 minutes.
It didn’t stop the home side attacking with gusto though as Waghorn and McKay combined on the edge of the area and the latter found Wallace with a well weighted ball to his left. The left-back took a few strides to bring himself more central and with just the keeper to beat he fired his effort high and wide.
Garner was back on the pitch for 72 minutes when he gave Toral the ball to allow the Arsenal loanee to run into the left channel. The midfielder had options with Waghorn in the box but chose instead to pass to Garner who was poised on the edge of the box. Hamilton stood off the striker, which gave him the space to advance but his end product was poor as he tried to slot the ball between Matthews’ legs.
Four minutes later Toral had chance of his own as he planted a brilliant header onto the palm of the Accies keeper from a corner. Matthews’ save sent the ball out for another set-piece and this time Toral made sure the ball ended up in the back of the net, turning to shoot before a stray Hamilton leg turned the ball into his own net.
Rangers were profiting from their set-pieces and their fourth of the afternoon came from another McKay corner from the left. This time Clint Hill’s diving header flew past Matthew to land in the top corner of the net.
Things weren’t to end there though as Garner added a fifth two minutes from time. The former Preston man jumped on a short back pass from Gillespie to intercept the ball and take it around Matthews. The angle was tight but his shot across goal snuck in at the far post.
He then rounded off his and Rangers afternoon with a sixth and his third. A slack clearance saw the ball fall to Garner and he turned seven yards out to fire low into the Accies net via a deflection.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Hill, Wallace; Toral, Holt, Hyndman (Forrester 82’); Waghorn (O’Halloran 74’), Miller (Garner 45’), Mckay
Subs not used: Alnwick, Wilson, Hodson, Halliday
Goals: Waghorn 32’, Garner 48’ 88’ 90’, Toral 77’, Hill 81’,
Yellows: Garner 55’
HAMILTON: Matthews, Skondras, Devlin, Gillespie, Imrie, Crawford, Kurtaj (Docherty 67’), Bingham, Donati, Adams (McMann 62’), Sarris (Watson 39’)
Subs not used: Woods, Gogic, Brophy, Cunningham